This Week in Baseball History: Sept. 13-19

Before Jim Abbott, there was Hugh "One Arm" Daily

Sept. 13, 1883 – One Arm Daily’s No-Hitter

 

Believe it or not, Jim Abbott wasn’t the only pitcher to single-handedly throw a no-hitter.

To find the other time that happened, you have to travel all the way back to 1883 to witness Hugh “One Arm” Daily blank the Philadelphia Quakers.

 

How did Daily lose his arm? According to SABR, when Daily was 13 years old in 1861, he was accidentally shot with through the wrist while horsin’ around. To field a ball in play, Daily would trap the ball between his right hand and a leather pad protecting the stump on his left arm.

Despite this injury, Daily carved out a reputation among the Baltimore semi-pro baseball community for his solid pitching and outrageous temper toward anyone who crossed his path. One time, Daily knocked out his catcher because they threw the ball back to the mound too hard and it hurt Daily’s stump.

Throughout his professional career, Daily never played for the same team two years in a row.

In 1883, the 35-year-old Daily played for the Cleveland Blues, joining a roster that featured such lovely baseball names like Fatty BriodyJack Glasscock and Doc Bushong. Another thing to note is that Cleveland relied on just two starting pitchers for the entire year. In that era, pitchers were rarely relieved of their duty. If you started a game, you were expected to finish it, regardless of your performance.

That was especially the case for Daily, because once a pitcher left the mound they would take a spot in the field. And managers avoided moving “One Arm Daily” around the defense as much as they could. As a result, that season Daily started 43 games and pitched a complete game 40 times. By the end of ’83, Daily started essentially every game because the other starter (Jim McCormick) got injured.

The best start he had the year occurred on Sept. 13 against Philadelphia.

There is little information that we have from that glorious day for Daily. We do know that the field that day had been soaked, rendering almost all offense non-existent. Both teams combined for just one run in nine innings, and that score only came about via sloppy defense. Cleveland put together six hits. But Philadelphia had zero.

Daily had thrown baseball’s tenth no-hitter.

 

Sept. 14, 1990 – The Griffeys Go Back-To-Back

 

Baseball is currently in the midst of an amazing youth movement. It kind of feels like déjà vu all over again.

Back in the 90s, you had names like Guerrero, Tatis, Bichette, Biggio, Gordon, Quantrill and Mondesi garnering MVP and Cy Young votes. Now, in the year 2021, those same last names represent some of the most exciting talent that baseball has to offer.

Father-son pairs are nothing new in baseball. A long time ago, you had Yogi & Dale BerraTito Terry Francona, and GeorgeDave/Dick Sisler.

However, Ken Griffey Sr.Jr. did something few of these duos had ever done in professional sports: they played together.

 

In 1987, Junior was selected first overall in the MLB Draft. His hype was enormous. While Junior rightfully earned recognition for exceptional high school performance, it didn’t hurt that his dad was a 15-year MLB veteran with a couple of All-Star nods under his belt.

Senior’s peak season came in 1976, the last season that the famed “Big Red Machine” won a World Series. He may have been overshadowed by the three other HOFers in that starting lineup, but Senior’s stat line of .336/.401/.450 with 111 R, 6 HR, 74 RBIs, and 34 SB:11 CS earned him eighth place in the NL MVP race (three other Reds finished ahead of him).

By the time 1987 came around, Senior had lost his speed and bounced around to a couple different teams, but he still proved to be an above-average bat (111 OPS+ in ’87).

That year, Junior destroyed Single A pitching (1.049 OPS in 228 PAs), and showed he was on a lightning-quick track to the majors. ’88 was a similar story for Junior: .972 OPS in 324 PAs across Single A and Double AA. For the ’89 season, Junior would make the Opening Day roster.

Meanwhile, in ’89 Senior had found his way back to the Reds. And while his 19-year-old son, the youngest player in all of baseball, slashed his way across Seattle, the 39-year-old Senior had another solid season with his old team (.263/.346/.424 for a 116 OPS+).

But in ’90, it became clear that Senior’s chapter was closing as Junior’s story was about to explode.

Through the end of August, Senior had the worst hitting stretch of his career (.206/.235/.286 in 68 PAs). The Reds released him. And one team took a chance on this aging veteran: the Seattle Mariners.

Beginning on Aug. 31, the two Griffeys would share the field.

“It’s really going to be weird tonight, playing with my dad,” Junior said.

“It’s going to be weird tonight, playing with my son,” Senior later added.

In their first time batting back-to-back, they both singled.

But that isn’t even the most glorious B2B moment they shared that season. For that, you would have to fast forward two weeks to Sept. 14.

In front of a crowd of 34,180 fans, the Mariners visited the California Angels and faced off against Kirk McCaskill. Senior occupied the two spot. Junior followed right behind him.

The leadoff batter, Harold Reynolds, drew a walk. Senior stepped up to the plate, dealt with an 0 – 2 count, and then crushed an opposite-field homer to left.

Four pitches later, and Junior did the same exact thing.

 

The only time that a father-son pair had homered in the same game. And they did it back-to-back. If you didn’t think there was something special about Junior before that game, you sure as heck had to believe so afterwards.

Senior would retire in 1991, allowing his son to carry on the Griffey name in baseball.

I’m sure you already know how Junior’s career played out.

 

Sept. 16, 2005 – Youppi! Switches Sports

 

Meet the Bo Jackson of the mascot world: Youppi!

Youppi! has been a maverick for decades. In 1989, Youppi! became the first mascot to be ejected from a professional sports game after he ticked off the late Tommy Lasorda. Word of advice to all mascots: mess with Lasorda at your own risk.

 

Last year, Youppi! even became the first Canadian inductee of the Mascot Hall of Fame, joining an elite crop of talent like the Phillie Phanatic, Mr. Met and Sluggerrr.

In case you were wondering, according to his HOF profile, Youppi!’s species is “Orange Hairy Giant.”

But I digress. We have to focus on what distinguished Youppi! from all other mascots. For starters, Youppi! never caused fear among Montreal’s children. His predecessor Souki, on the other, had quite an unnerving aura.

Souki lasted just one season with the team.

When Youppi! debuted the next year, Expos fans welcomed the creature with open arms. Most mascots are completely comfortable with their homegrown teams, and they never really entertain the idea of fleeing crosstown to another team for a better payday.

Unfortunately for Youppi!, who had called the Montreal Expos its home for about 26 years, the Expos were not long for this world. 2004 saw the end of baseball in Montreal (for now), as the Expos became the Washington Nationals. A new city brought a new mascot: Screech.

Just like that, Youppi! was left without a job. Unemployment benefits aren’t the best for mascots, so Youppi! needed to find work fast.

Lucky for them, the Montreal Canadiens were looking to make a change. They had been around since 1909, but never had they had a mascot.

On Sept. 16, 2005, the Canadiens made a revolutionary announcement: Youppi! would become the first sports mascot to switch leagues as he had joined the legendary hockey team.

“When it became apparent we had the opportunity to preserve a small element of the Montreal Expos legacy by retaining the service of Youppi!, there was no hesitation on our part to do so,” said Ray Lalonde, vice president of marketing and sales for the Canadiens.

 

Unfortunately for Youppi!, no matter where he goes, championships do not follow him. During Youppi! 26-year tenure with the Expos, they never won the pennant/World Series. And since 2005 with the Canadiens — the NHL team with the most Stanley Cups — it is the same story: no conference championships or Stanley Cups for Youppi!

Maybe Youppi! should finally make that switch into Cirque Du Soleil.

 

 

Photo By John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Feature Graphic Designed by James Peterson (Follow @jhp_design714 on Instagram & Twitter)

Alex Kleinman

Journalist who loves the Yankees and the Bears. One gives me strength, the other leads me to existential dread. When I'm not obsessing over baseball, you can find me at a concert, hiking in a National Park or chasing my dog, Frankie, who has probably stolen one of my socks.

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